Just recently, I returned from the grocery store, sat down and briefly looked over my receipt just to make sure everything added up. As I was looking down the list of items, I noticed that a lot of items had been marked up since the last time I visited this particular grocery store. I’d say I’m fairly conscious about food prices and how much I usually spend when grocery shopping, in fact, I’m sort of a bargain hunter! So, what happened here? Most of these items were on sale, which is usually when I wander out to get the most out of my hard earned dollar. After doing some research, I found out why my grocery bill seemed to be a little higher than average.
It seems that this year has been nothing but trouble for the agricultural industry and farmers alike. All over the world, there has been nothing but one natural catastrophe after the next, and this is causing major setbacks for many countries that rely on exporting food commodities to other countries (many countries rely on imported food commodities.)
Recently, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the massive snowstorm that pounded the USA and also of the Katrina like Cyclone (Hurricane) that walloped Australia a few months back. The USA is a huge grain producer, and the extreme cold weather in the past few months in much of the southern states has devastated wheat crops. As a result, you’ll notice that the cost of bread, cereal, and just about anything that wheat is considered a main ingredient will cost you noticeably more. I’ve also heard that tomato crops have been hit by severe frost as well in the US, which is why only hot house tomatoes were available at the market the other day.
Australia is a main producer of Sugarcane, and sugar prices have hit levels we haven’t seen in over 30 years as a result of Cyclone Yasi. Flooding in Malaysia has significantly raised the cost of Palm Oil, which is a cooking staple in many developing countries.
If you think that food costs here in North America are barely affordable, think again. Many third world countries, where the average earnings per day is a mere $1-$10 per day, are dealing with food costs that are now almost at par with food costs here in North America. It has recently been estimated that almost 1 Billion people worldwide are either hungry or malnourished – a huge number.
To make things even worse, many countries are now hoarding food, buying up massive amounts of stock from other countries in fear of a food shortage. This pushes up food prices all over the world as stocks are depleted while demand grows. At this pace, not only is food growing expensive, but becoming scarce for many as well.
We are seeing the effects of how expensive and scarce food is becoming. The world is getting desperate, especially have-not countries where many are finding it difficult to feed their families even while working full time making average wages. Options are very limited in these countries where people work so hard and earn so little. If there was ever a time to take action about the severity of this looming global food shortage, the time is now.